Russia-Ukraine War: Casualties Mount, Major Cities Under Siege


Casualties were climbing on both sides as Russia’s ferocious assault on its neighbor entered a second week Thursday, reports USA Today.

Russian troops killed

Russia acknowledged that nearly 500 of its troops have been killed in the fighting and about 1,600 wounded. Ukraine, which has not released casualty figures for its own armed forces, has estimated Russian troop losses at up to 9,000.

About 2000 civilians dead

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it was impossible to verify the claim. The U.N. human rights office said it had recorded 227 deaths, including 15 under the age of 18, and 525 injured, since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24.

Major cities under siege

Meanwhile, most of Ukraine’s major cities are under siege. Gov. Hennadiy Lahutasays the government building in the Black Sea port city of Kherson was seized by Russian troops while Russia said its troops had captured the city of 300,000 people. Troops were also bearing down on Mykolaiev, 40 miles to the northwest and home to almost half a million Ukrainians, The New York Times reported.

The Ukraine military said Thursday that four large landing ships and three missile boats were moving through the Black Sea in the direction of the Ukrainian port city of Odesa. According to the military, Russian sailors were firing on civilian ships and taking prisoners.

Swiftest refugee exodus of the century

More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine. The mass evacuation could be seen in Kharkiv, where residents desperate to escape falling shells and bombs crowded the city’s train station and pressed onto trains, not always knowing where they were headed. The Ukrainian government said at least 34 people were killed and 285 injured, including 10 children, during the shelling of Kharkiv.

In one week, more than 2% of Ukraine’s population has been forced out of the country, according to a tally from the United Nations, which called the mass flight one of the “swiftest refugee exodus this century.”

And on Thursday, delegations from both countries are expected to hold talks in Belarus, a second round of face-to-face discussions. Ukrainian delegation member David Arakhamia said Ukraine’s minimum goal is to agree on humanitarian corridors, the Kyiv Independent reported.

Latest developments

  • In a stunning reversal, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from the Winter Paralympic Games for their countries’ roles in the war in Ukraine, the International Paralympic Committee said Thursday in Beijing.
  • A South Korean pharmaceutical company manufacturing Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine says it’s bracing for business complications as the U.S.-led West escalates sanctions against Russia.
  • About 3,800 troops based at Fort Stewart in southeast Georgia have been ordered to deploy quickly to bolster U.S. forces in Europe.
  • Two of the world’s big three credit agencies downgraded Russia’s rating to “junk” status Wednesday, arguing that sanctions imposed by other countries in response to the Ukrainian invasion have jeopardized Russian financial stability.
  • The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor opened an investigation Wednesday into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in Ukraine dating back to 2013, but also covering the conflict sparked by Russia’s invasion.

Read more here. 

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Source: USA Today